January 19, 1998

Middlebury College's Geonomics Institute Joins Vermont Non-Profits and Educators to Provide Professional Training: Community Connections Winter Program

Adjusting to a society no longer supported by a communist government, residents of the former Soviet Union are seeking more than economic expertise from the West.

From Jan. 27 to Feb.12, 10 social service and education professionals from the Rivne region in northeastern Ukraine will intern with their Vermont counterparts in Burlington, Waterbury, and Randolph as participants in the Community Connections winter program, a project organized by the Geonomics Institute of Middlebury College.

As interns, the Ukrainian professionals will learn new methods of delivering educational and social services in their own country, and gain day-to-day exposure to the democratic free-market economy of the United States. The internships reflect the programís goalóto support the development of democracy in the Ukraine and other countries of the former Soviet Union.

Prior to the internships, Community Connections participants will undergo intensive training at Middleburyís Geonomics Institute. The program also will offer the Ukrainians the chance to establish personal connections through homestays with Vermont families, and opportunities to engage in local cultural and community activities.

Vermont organizations providing internships during the winter program include the Burlington-based Baird Center, King Street Youth Center, Otter Creek Associates, Spectrum Youth Services, and the University of Vermont School of Education. In South Burlington, IDX Systems Corporation will take part. The Agency of Human Services and the Vermont Institute of Science, Math and Technology in Waterbury are also participants, along with Vermont Technical College in Randolph.

Community Connections is a nationwide program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Information Agency. Vermontís program receives additional funding from the Geonomics Institute, The Snelling Center for Government, Champlain College, Vermont businesses, private and government organizations, and individuals.

The sponsors of the winter project are the Geonomics Institute at Middlebury College, The Snelling Center for Government, Champlain College, the Vermont/Karelia Rule of Law Project, the Addison County Economic Development Corporation, and the Vermont Chamber of Commerce

For more information on the Community Connections program, please contact Chris Beattie, program coordinator, at the Geonomics Institute at Middlebury College at 802-443-2300.